I’ve been demanding a lot of my body lately: Sprint to the second tree and back, switch off slide planks for three minutes, paddle through surf-like waves. Oh, and every time I want to go lay in my bed? Not before hiking five flights of stairs. My body is responding. My arms are stronger and my abs are noticeably flatter.

Still, I was surprised when I felt ill on Thursday. Just a little nauseous – not enough to keep me from paddleboarding and going to a bar to watch the Giants game that evening – but enough that I brought my computer home in case I felt worse in the morning and needed to work from home.

I woke up Friday, feeling dizzy, like I was still trying to balance on that iTrekker paddleboard. I decided to stay home. Late morning, I was thinking about what my tummy would tolerate for lunch when it hit me. I hadn’t been eating much protein lately. Sure, I’d thrown some chickpeas on my salads and snacked on peanuts, but it’d been a while since I had a chicken on my salad or a burger. I mentioned this theory to a co-worker who asked how I was feeling. She asked if I was vegetarian. When I said no, she replied with, “Steak for lunch!”

I have steak burgers in my freezer, so I decided to give that a go. Along with an entire bottle of water, I felt a lot better. For dinner, I ran to the salad place on the corner and made sure to get grilled chicken mixed in. All signs of protein-deficiency disappeared.

My “sickness” was all my own fault! I was making my body do things, but not fueling it properly. I know better. I’ve taken nutrition class! I’ve read the post-workout articles. I know you’re supposed to eat back half of what you just burnt off. I know you’re supposed to get a serving of protein within 30 minutes or so of strenuous exercise. I know I feel nauseous when I’m dehydrated!

This served as my reminder to be more mindful of what I’m doing. The whole point of exercise is to take care of my body. That includes feeding it properly.

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